Note well!

Learning Skills Centre Jo G
Learning Skills Centre Jo G Holmesglen Staff • 6 April 2023

Organized notes are an important tool for achieving success in your studies, but note-taking is an individual skill. What works for you, may not work for someone else. It may depend on what type of learner you are – more visual than linguistic, for example. The important thing is to develop your own note-taking style and then use it.

So why take notes?

  • As a memory aid
  • To reduce large amounts of information into memorable chunks
  • To use as a summary
  • To promote deeper understanding of content
  • To identify gaps in your knowledge                                                                           

How to take notes:

Here are some ideas to get you started. 

  • Don't write full sentences
  • Leave out small words (articles and conjunctions…the, a, an, and)
  • Use visual cues: e.g different colours for different topics, highlight important information, underline
  • Develop special symbols for course-specific content or words e.g. pt - patient
  • Use bullet points
  • Use abbreviations to reduce words & sentences. Think of the words u use in txt msgs -  they might give u some idea. Otherwise here are a few common abbreviations:

          b/c                                                               because                     

          w/                                                                 with

          ppl                                                               people

           ↑                                                                 increase/more

           ↓                                                                 decrease/less

         b/w                                                               between

           ‹                                                                 less than

           ›                                                                 greater than

          &                                                                 and

        b/4                                                                before      

Have you thought about mind mapping? This may be useful for visual learners.

This involves writing (or drawing an image) about the main topic in the centre of the page. From there jot down new and connected ideas that branch out from the centre. By identifying relationships between the terms this will help you gain a deeper understanding of the topic and retain the information. Helpful for structuring an essay. (Can also look very pretty.)

For more information on mind mapping click here:

If you would like more information on your note-taking skills, make an appointment with a Learning Skills support teacher and we will give feedback.

Go to our booking page at:

Also, look for the Learning Skills Centre site in Brightspace where you'll find more ideas & handy note-taking templates ready to go.